Sunday 15 May 2011

Observing mistakes

The Guardian have been pretty great about representing the recent government and media attacks on benefit claimants. They were one of the few news outlets that devoted more than a "blink and you'll miss it" amount of coverage to the Hardest Hit march on Wednesday. Society Guardian have been particularly good to us at WtB.

So it was quite disappointing to need to send the following Email to this morning:

I was going to complain about erroneously claiming that DLA is “the benefit now given to 1.9 million people deemed physically unable to work.” But you corrected while I was in the middle of typing.

However, I’m not satisfied with your correction. The correction says:

“The original conflated the number of people on disability living allowance and the incapacity benefit. This has been corrected.”

That’s not true. “DLA is given to people physically unable to work” is not a conflation of figures, it’s an outright untruth.

As a DLA claimant I would appreciate greatly if you corrected your correction.

Additionally an older version of the article with a different URL, title, photo and byline here still contains the inaccurate “disability living allowance, the benefit now given to 1.9 million people deemed physically unable to work.”

DLA is not an out of work benefit. DLA is to cover the extra costs of being disabled regardless of your employment status. If a wheelchair user finds a job, does their need to buy a new wheelchair every few years disappear? No.

If someone who needs help getting out of bed in the morning gets a job, does that assistance need disappear? No.

So DLA, the benefit to help pay for those things, doesn’t disappear when you get a job either.

Ironically the article is about the hostility towards disabled people since welfare reform began. Articles like this only fuel that hatred by making readers think there are more “fakers” than there are. By stating that DLA is an out of work benefit you’re feeding people the lie that there are numerous workers fraudulently claiming out of work benefits. Because there are many people on DLA that do work legitimately.

Lisa Egan

Edit 24/5/11: Happy to report that the article published on Saturday May 14th has now been corrected. However the article posted on Sunday 15th May still has the inadequate amendment.


  1. I also sent two e-mails with similar points when it came on-line just after 9PM.I cannot see any correction?

  2. The same article appears twice with a different title, url, photo and byline.

    If you click on the second of the links in my post it takes you to the original version posted last night. That one, at this moment, does not contain a correction.

    If you click on the first link it my post that takes you to the other version of the article posted today. That contains a correction but, as I said, the correction itself is incorrect.

  3. The two articles are subtly different, for instance my 'government Jihad against us' line is only in the Saturday one.

    I've emailed them as well, with suggested wording to clarify between DLA, IB and ESA. Too late for the print editions, unfortunately.

    Anyone see Saturday's Guardian, was the first article in there, or just on the website?

  4. I doubt if it'll have been in Saturday's paper. It went up on the website at about 9pm on Sat. If it'd been in Sat's paper it would've gone up roughly sometime between 11pm Fri and 1am Sat.

  5. Weird that they posted two versions of it, in that case.